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Author Topic: Comparisons to Hitler, Pedophilia, etc...
Gaoics79
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As everyone knows, there is a common "rule" that if Hitler (or in some cases, pedophilia, Nazis, etc...) comes up in a debate, it automatically ruins any possibility for intelligent discourse. This rule came about because alot of people were making hyperbolic comparisons involving their ideological opponents. This rule came about in reaction to this hyperbole.

But I have noticed a really irritating counter trend, where some people have taken this rule to the extreme and have decided that ANY mention or comparison to Hitler, (or Nazis, or pedophiles, or similarly evil things) no matter how innocuous or relevant, equals a moral comparison and destroys the debate. This is moronic. Some things ARE comparable to Hitler, Nazis, pedophiles, and such things. If I mention pedophilia as an example in a discussion about homosexuality, that DOES NOT mean that I think homosexuals

(a) are pedophiles
(b) are morally equivalent to pedophiles
(c) or are in any way like pedophiles except to the extent that it is relevant to my specific argument.

I'm sick of debates being ruined by this silliness. I'm sick of making an innocuous point that happens to use, say, Hitler as an example, and then having to deal with ludicrous totally baseless accusations of making a moral equivalency between Hitler and whatever I was talking about simply because I mentioned Hitler in the debate, used him as an example, or compared him, in some innocuous way, to something else!

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Pete at Home
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Agreed. But too many people are too simple minded or lazy to distinguish between moral equivalence and a substantive analogy.
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Sancselfieme
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Maybe to avoid that kind of misunderstanding, you need to talk about what particular aspect of Hitler/pedophiles/etc. you are comparing something to. If you just compare something to Hitler, of course it's wrong because, what is Hitler most infamous for? - Murdering millions of Jews.
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Zyne
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Agreed. Pedophilia is a better analogy to homosexuality than most other conditions because they both contemplate deviations from the "sexual norm" in persons who cannot conform to the "sexual norm," where one in the "sexual norm" confines their sexual relationships to adults of the opposite gender, inside of a (purportedly) monogamous relationship.
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Gaoics79
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quote:
Maybe to avoid that kind of misunderstanding, you need to talk about what particular aspect of Hitler/pedophiles/etc. you are comparing something to. If you just compare something to Hitler, of course it's wrong because, what is Hitler most infamous for? - Murdering millions of Jews.
Of course, but it never makes a difference. You could say that a specific American fighter jet is comparable in design to Nazi era jets, or you could say that homosexuals, like pedophiles, often have to hide their sexual practices from the mainstream, and the next thing you know, some bozo is accusing you of saying that Americans are Nazis and homosexuals are pedophiles. You can't win.
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The Drake
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I've said this before. If you are using Hitler or the Nazis as an analogy, you are being lazy. Why not use Stalin for a change? Or Pol Pot?

And I'm not going to bring up sexual deviancies, but there is such a variety beyond homosexuality and paedophilia [Smile]

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Gaoics79
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quote:
I've said this before. If you are using Hitler or the Nazis as an analogy, you are being lazy. Why not use Stalin for a change? Or Pol Pot?
I refuse to limit the analogies I'm allowed to use because some idiots are too lazy to actually read what I said, as opposed to just hysterically reacting to the comparison.
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Redskullvw
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Well on a poly sci fourm such as this hitler is bound to come up in the course of serious and legitimate discussion. In many instances he represents the lowest common denominator that everyone here is generally going to know a bit about. Throw out Pol Pot into a discussion and most people younger than 30 wont know who he is making the discussion detour in order to get people collectively back up to speed. And as far as sexual deviancy goes, homosexual laws and political movements get repeatedly discussed here. And in general it tends to be specificly focused on the issue of homosexuality. how else can you discuss it unless you choose to use the actual word that fits the definition? The point is that most places on the internet that might have hitler or homosexual used in fourm posts also tend to involve rich flame wars, and likely have phrases strung together that indicate the use of a word like hitler is generally meant as personal slander. Such as "If you weren't such a hitler worshiper you nitwit" or "your such a homo what you say is dogpile"

Thus the general rule that the side to first use hitler or homo in its argument has lost the argument. Doesn't hold as true on Ornery. In fact, there have been just a handful of times where use of such terms on Ornery has reflected their use on the rest of the net. Most people here are able to make such distinction, and most also will not tollerate the webs more common utilization of such terms.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by The Drake:
I've said this before. If you are using Hitler or the Nazis as an analogy, you are being lazy. Why not use Stalin for a change? Or Pol Pot?

And I'm not going to bring up sexual deviancies, but there is such a variety beyond homosexuality and paedophilia [Smile]

When I bring in S&M analogies, no one responds. Think about it -- isn't it just arbitrary that people say "gay is who I AM," like it was the essence of their being? Why not identify as Tops, Bottoms, Switches, and Vanillas? [Big Grin] Honestly, I'm baffled what to say when someone just introduces that into a conversation. "I'm Gay" and then stares at you, waiting for a response.

Am I'm supposed to say is "Good for you," and pat them on the hand. Here, take an affirmation, then affirm me and tell me I'm not a homoformic twad, or whatever the latest bit of gayspeak for "bad person who won't affirm us."

Or is this an invitation for me to tell them my own sexual peculiarities and turn-ons? [Big Grin]

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pickled shuttlecock
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I'm pretty sure the correct response to "I'm gay" is "So what?"

Anyway, as far as automatically losing by bringing up Hitler goes - it's a misunderstanding of Godwin's Law. People like to assume it to innoculate themselves against comparisons. This is all it says:

quote:
As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.
All this relatively benign observation means is that, when someone brings up Hitler or Nazis, Mike Godwin wins.

[ October 20, 2005, 08:39 PM: Message edited by: pickled shuttlecock ]

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Richard Dey
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Pickled, I'm pretty sure it isn't. Try this:

Pickled: This homophilics stuff is a pile of crap.

Faggot: I'm gay.

Pickled: Oh (looks at babe in corner in pink), so, ah, well, maybe you can tell me. Is that a drag quean or is she available? Heh-heh.

Faggot: Drag quean, aged 57, wanted for 3 counts of aggravated assault, actually.

Pickled: Oh (looks disappointed), Oh, so well what's the story with Winston Churchill? Still a Gee-6 ... hee-hee ... or what?

Faggot: Gee-7. Can I buy you a beer?

Pickled: Oh (looks ambiguous), well yeah, sure. Then maybe you can tell me about the babe in blue?

Faggot: A cop. Miller lite? or are you a manly sort of drinker?

The phrase "I'm gay" is a polite way of saying that you're being irrelevant.

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Kosmic_Fool
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quote:
The phrase "I'm gay" is a polite way of saying that you're being irrelevant.
Depends on when it's being said, I think. In your conversation, that's pretty much what it means, but it also could have the result that ps talked about if you change the conversation:

Kosmic: Hi, I'm Kosmic. Who are you?

Some Guy: Hi, I'm Some Guy. I'm gay.

Kosmic: . . . . Ooo-kay. So who do you think is going to win the World Series?

[ October 21, 2005, 12:33 AM: Message edited by: Kosmic_Fool ]

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Rallan
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Except JasonR that the last time you mentioned pedophilia and homosexuality in the same sentence, it was to compare homosexuality to harmful psychological disorders. It's all well and good to get all weepy about how people (ie me) are taking this Godwin's Law business to silly extremes, but you were kinda running with a textbook example. There's a time and a place for some topics to come up, but wheeling them out for the purpose of trying to run a guilt by association argument is almost never the time (unless of course we're talking about actual child molesters or genocidal dictators, in which case of course there's nothing wrong with trying to associate them in the reader's mind with pedopilia or compare them to Hitler).
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Paladine
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I was unfairly tagged for this on a thread dealing with Catholic priests. Although some were honest and sensible enough to see what I was saying (particularly Funean), I was so disgusted by the incident that I abandoned the thread and took a brief hiatus thereafter.

You can compare things without calling them morally equivalent. Homosexuality is a predisposition to a certain type of sexual behavior that deviates from the norms of this culture. So is pedophilia. These facts mean that there will be instances in which it is useful to compare and contrast the two in the context of an argument.

If someone says "Gays can't control who they want to have sex with. It's not a choice, they can't control their sexual impulses!" I'm justified in coming back with "Well, pedophiles can't control who they want to have sex with either, but we as a society demand that they do for a number of very good reasons. So the question in assessing policy vis a vis homosexuality isn't one of ability. A person can't easily change who they want to have sex with, but they can decide how they act upon that desire. If you think it's unreasonable to demand that they not act in accordance with that desire, that's legitimate and we can have a debate. But let's not operate under the pretext that straights, gays, pedophiles, or people attracted to vacuum cleaners don't have any control over their actions."

That's not claiming that the two are morally equivalent, and frankly I shouldn't have to tack a big disclaimer on there to placate people like Rallan. I assume that the people I address in a debate are mature and intelligent enough to read what I say in context and understand that I mean precisely what I say. By and large, they are and do; that's one of the things I like most about this place.

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Gaoics79
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quote:
Except JasonR that the last time you mentioned pedophilia and homosexuality in the same sentence, it was to compare homosexuality to harmful psychological disorders. It's all well and good to get all weepy about how people (ie me) are taking this Godwin's Law business to silly extremes, but you were kinda running with a textbook example.
"Comparing" TWO THINGS DOESN'T MEAN MAKING A MORAL EQUIVALENCY!!! Just because I compared homosexuality to pedophilia, alcoholism, sex addiction, psychotic behavior, etc... doesn't mean I mean to say that one was morally the same as the other!

We were talking about homosexuality. In response to someone's comment about not respecting their son if he turned out to be gay, you responded that it was not a choice. I understood your argument to be: how can you blame someone for something that isn't a choice?

My response to this was to say that we as a society routinely blame people for things that aren't choices either, or where the so-called choice is illusory. I used examples like alcholism and pedophilia because these are things that are not choices that we nevertheless blame people for.

If you believe that it isn't possible or correct to blame someone for actions that are not chosen, then to be consistent, you would have to stop blaming a whole lot of other people for equally unchosen behavior. This, by the way, is not such a terrible thing. As much as we like to, I don't think it makes much sense to "blame" people for unchosen actions. If you have a messed up brain chemistry that makes you a monster, it's silly to blame you for something literally beyond your control. Lock you up in prison, execute you, isolate you, medicate you, whatever... but not blame.

My only point was that if you say that one cannot blame someone for an unchosen behavior (as you seemed to be saying to the guy who would lose respect for his gay son because he was gay) then you can't do it selectively just for the behaviors that are harmless, like homosexuality. And YES, I think that homosexuality is harmless, so think about that before you start assuming I want to equate being gay with being a bloody pedophile!

If you respond to this post with another idiotic "but homosexuality is nothing like pedophilia, how can you "compare" the two?!" then there's nothing I can say further without my head exploding.

[ October 21, 2005, 07:56 AM: Message edited by: jasonr ]

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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by Rallan:
Except JasonR that the last time you mentioned pedophilia and homosexuality in the same sentence, it was to compare homosexuality to harmful psychological disorders. It's all well and good to get all weepy about how people (ie me) are taking this Godwin's Law business to silly extremes, but you were kinda running with a textbook example. There's a time and a place for some topics to come up, but wheeling them out for the purpose of trying to run a guilt by association argument is almost never the time (unless of course we're talking about actual child molesters or genocidal dictators, in which case of course there's nothing wrong with trying to associate them in the reader's mind with pedopilia or compare them to Hitler).

Do you understand that you are alone in this view of what jasonr did? Perhaps you'd consider, well, reconsidering?
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Dagonee
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Or perhaps just reread the post in question. In pertinent part:

quote:
The point is, all of these practices I mentioned above are [edit: "these practices" include pedophilia], to one degree or another, not really choices in the truest sense of the word, even if our society nurtures the illusion that they are. All of them, to some degree or another, require some inherent weakness or defect in the afflicted person to take root. Some are just as inherent to the person as sexual orientation. But we acknowledge them as being negative traits that need to be discouraged in people.
My question Rallan is if you expect people to let go of their disapproval of the homosexual "lifestyle" because it is not a choice, are you prepared to do the same when it comes to alcoholism, sex addiction, pedophilia, and other compulsive behavior?


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The Drake
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The problem is, when you draw a comparison, you are dragging along baggage with it.

Or are the kids who accuse their parents of being "Hitler" really making a thoughtful analogy, without implying equivalence?

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JohnLocke
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I think you're being too hard on Rallan because he tried to be too hard on you, Jason.

Your argument was neither illogical nor wrong, but it did leave a bad taste in my mouth.

What, for example, does it mean for homosexuality that society has a right to regulate the behaviour of pedophiles--that is, to prevent it? Of course your point was that an inability to choose sexual disposition doesn't automatically justify possible actions that are taken thereby (and you could have stated this just as succinctly and avoided all this hyperbolemic hyperbole).

The who-cares-if-they-don't-get-to-choose argument has about as much relevance as: "but we still expect left-handed people to obey traffic signals".

Let's take another look at that post. Opening line:

"Rallan, there are lots of bad practices that we all accept as being harmful, that are not 'choices' really."

Since homosexuality isn't one of them (else you'd be guilty of Rallan's original charge), why must we explore those practices for 250 more words? Did you not feel that using the following words in a homosexuality discussion could be seen as inappropriate?

quote:
Pedophiles, don't choose, small children, psycopath, monster, alcoholic, hopelessly addicted, can't stop, anonymous sex, addiction, alcoholism, pedophilia, afflicted, inherent need, inherent weakness, vulnerable, negative behavior, molest, defect taking root, just as inherent, negative traits, need to be discouraged, compulsive behavior, sex addict, etc


[ October 21, 2005, 12:16 PM: Message edited by: JohnLocke ]

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flydye45
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I personally see the evocation of Godwins law by critics of Iraq as a way of shortciruiting debate by being able to ignore a perfectly valid example of a "good" war in recent history with some valid, but imperfect comparisons. Lessee, dictatorships, genocide, poltroonery by the diplomatic corps of many nations. Nope, no fair comparisons [Roll Eyes]

Critics would much rather dwell on Vietnam. [Smile]


BTW Rallan, I saw the quotes as well. You either have the knee jerk sensitivity of RD at a bishops convention on gay priests or are willfully chosing to misread NOT ONLY what jasonr said, but also what he and about 5 other posters tried to explain to you at length about the details of the analogy. You have reached the border of credibility, are aiming for the far horizon and accelerating.

[ October 23, 2005, 10:50 PM: Message edited by: flydye45 ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:

I'm sick of making an innocuous point that happens to use, say, Hitler as an example, and then having to deal with ludicrous totally baseless accusations of making a moral equivalency between Hitler and whatever I was talking about simply because I mentioned Hitler in the debate, used him as an example, or compared him, in some innocuous way, to something else!

Perhaps you can train yourself to not use emotionally-loaded analogies that include implied equivalencies to worst-case scenarios, then? Or else to accept that when people perceive that you ARE drawing such equivalencies, you'll have to explain that you aren't?

[ October 23, 2005, 11:38 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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TCB
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Invoking Hitler comparisons is the easiest, most understandable way to construct a "reduction to an absurdity" argument in social studies debates like we have here. There's no problem with that line of reasoning except when we're overly emotional in constructing the argument or overly emotional in reacting to it. And if we're being overly emotional, I'd say that's the problem, not the comparison.

[ October 24, 2005, 01:30 AM: Message edited by: TCB ]

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Richard Dey
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Cripes! Thank Marymuthaogod Hitler wasn't a pederast; the debate might degenerate [Wink] !
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flydye45
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How old was Eva again? [Wink]
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The Drake
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I think that you are all like Hitler, but of course I am only speaking about the fact that you are all human beings interested in politics.

Later, Hitlers.

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Lewkowski
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That is a big problem, because there are times when comparing things to WWII must be made. Ie genocide in areas of the world, or the attempt of using diplomacy and peace talk with dictators.
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pickled shuttlecock
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quote:
Originally posted by The Drake:
I think that you are all like Hitler, but of course I am only speaking about the fact that you are all human beings interested in politics.

Later, Hitlers.

You love children, don't you? And you breathe oxygen and are subject to gravity.

See ya, pedophile. [Big Grin]

[ October 25, 2005, 03:07 AM: Message edited by: pickled shuttlecock ]

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Athelstan
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It’s a miserable grey morning here so my mood might be reflected in this post. Why compare things to Hitler and not Stalin? A simple analogy (from a simple soul) could run like this. Hitler and a lot of Germans did lots of really bad things. The Allies defeated him therefore we must be good and have the moral high ground. So perish all tyrants. Unfortunately the British did not declare war on Germany to stop the Germans killing Jews and Hitler declared war on the US. We all know this. I just think it bears repeating.

I must say that the Germans made really good binoculars during WWII. I have a pair and they still work. Ooops.

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